Do Kids Care If Their Robot Friend Gets Stuffed Into a Closet?
More from the Robovie research group!
"Overall, 80 percent of the participants felt that Robovie was intelligent, and 60 percent thought that Robovie had feelings. At the same time, over 80 percent believed that it was just fine for people to own and sell Robovie. Hmm. Only 50 percent of the children felt that it was not all right to put Robovie in the closet, although close to 90 percent agreed with Robovie that it wasn't fair to put it in the closet and it should have been allowed to at least finish the game it was playing.
Things get even more interesting when you break down the results by age. For example, while 93 percent and 67 percent of 9 year olds said that they believed Robovie to be intelligent and to have feelings, respectively, those percentages drop to 70 percent and just 43 percent when you ask 15 year olds the same thing. Older children were also much less likely to think of Robovie as a friend, but more likely to object to a person being able to sell Robovie."
From the published article:
"What then are these robots? One answer, though highly speculative, is that we are creating a new ontological being with its own unique properties. Recall, for example, that we had asked children whether they thought Robovie was a living being. Results showed that 38% of the children were unwilling to commit to either category and talked in various ways of Robovie being “in between” living and not living or simply not fitting either category. As one child said, “He’s like, he’s half living, half not.” It is as if we showed you an orange object and asked you, “Is this object red or yellow?” You might say that it is neither and both. You might say that while you understand the question and that aspects of the question certainly make sense, when we combined red and yellow together we created something uniquely its own. That may be our trajectory with robots, as we create embodied entities that are “technologically alive”: autonomous, self-organizing, capable of modifying their behavior in response to contingent stimuli, capable of learning new behaviors, communicative in physical gesture and language, and increasingly social."
Watch the video here: Witnessing a Moral Violation to a Robot
Research group: http://depts.washington.edu/hints/